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10 ways to spring-clean your iPad and iPhone

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Tips and ideas to spring-clean your iOS device
Offload or remove apps, manage storage space, update app permissions, think about ways to repurpose, and more

Before you replace your current iOS device, follow these easy tips to give it a new life and purpose. It deserves it.

Do you consider replacing your iPad or iPhone? Especially that the new rumored model is just around the corner, and you are impatiently waiting to grab it in your hands?

The iPad is not as fast as it used to be, loads games or web pages much longer than before, and you think it doesn’t meet your growing needs any longer?

Wait! Maybe, just maybe, all you have to do is spend one or two hours and bring new life to the current model? And save $500 or $1,000 on the new one?

No matter what you decide, your current iPad or iPhone is worth taking another chance. If the spring-cleaning doesn’t help, the decision to buy the newest model will be fully justified.

There is one thing to remember before you start. Spring-cleaning is not only about refreshing the device but also changing your attitude towards it.

If you can’t use it the old way, you can start using it the new – and, who knows, maybe even better – way.

If in your head, the iPad is at the end of its life cycle, get creative, go out of the box, find it another life, and start a new life cycle. You may be surprised by how well it serves. It may be useful even till the launch of the next-next-generation model.

10 ways to spring-clean your iPad or iPhone

1. Review your subscriptions

Can you count how many apps on your iPad are subscriptions? How many of them don’t you use as often as you used to?

More and more apps in the App Store are switching from freemium to subscription or membership model. Among the most popular membership apps for iPad and iPhone is Scribd giving unlimited access to millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and comics.

You pay once to unlock advanced features or remove ads in the freemium app. In the subscription-based app, you are paying the monthly or annual fee.

If you are not careful enough you may buy the subscription for, let’s say, $1.99 per month, when you thought you were paying the price once and for all.

How to manage iOS subscriptions?

To cancel or renew Apple subscriptions on your iPad or iPhone (see a screenshot below):

  1. Open Settings app, scroll down to “iTunes & App Store” and tap it.
  2. Tap your Apple ID on the top (the field with your email address). In the dialog box which will appear, tap “View Apple ID.”
  3. Scroll down to see “Subscriptions.”
How to cancel subscriptions on your iPad or iPhone
Review subscriptions on your iPad or iPhone and cancel the ones you are not using any longer

Alternatively, you can go to the App Store app and tap your profile picture in the top right. Tap “Manage Subscriptions.”

You will see all subscriptions you have ever bought on any of your Apple devices, not only the iPad but also Mac. Active subscriptions are listed on the top, followed by “Expired” – the ones you have already canceled.

To cancel the subscription, tap it, scroll down to see the field with red text saying “Cancel Subscription,” and tap it.

2. Offload or remove the apps you don’t use

When you buy the new iPad or iPhone, you probably spend the first few months playing with the apps. You are testing how your favorite apps perform on the new device or trying new apps.

Wallpaper apps, games, apps that support Apple Pencil, or apps that would increase your learning curve… It’s just a start, right?

It’s been a year or more since you were intensively exploring your new iPad, and some of these apps were not opened since then.

Open your iPad and check out how many apps are hidden in app folders. Do you need them all? Do you even remember why you needed them in the first place?

These apps take unnecessary space and possibly slow down your device.

You can do two things to clean your iPad or iPhone:

  • Offload the app – it will free up storage but keep the app’s settings and data. The app’s icon will remain on the Home screen, with the small cloud icon preceding its name. When you tap the app, it will be automatically reinstalled.
  • Delete the app – it will remove the app completely from your iPad. All the settings will be deleted. You will need to go to the App Store to download the app and set it up again.

How to offload an iOS app?

To offload a specific app on your iPad or iPhone (see a screenshot below):

  1. Open Settings app, then tap “General,” then “iPhone Storage.”
  2. Scroll down – you will see a list of apps, together with space they take. Tap the app you want to offload, and then tap “Offload App.”
How to offload unused apps on iPad or iPhone to free up some space
Instead of removing the app, you can offload it to easily bring it back any time you want

How to delete an iOS app?

To delete the app, you can use the above method, but you can also do it right from the Home screen:

  1. Tap and hold the app’s icon gently until it starts to jiggle.
  2. Tap the small “Close” icon in the top left corner of the app.
  3. Press Home button to close app management mode.

3. Find apps that would serve your needs better

How are your New Year’s resolutions going? Have you promised yourself to read one book per week? Learn Spanish? Craft better posts for your blog on Medium? Bike 1,000 miles before the end of summer?

The iPad or iPhone can help you achieve your goals. You know that, but you have forgotten about it because the device is not as shiny and exciting as it was a year ago (plus it has that terrible little scratch in the bottom left part of a display).

Help your iPad become better and it will help you become better. The only thing is to pick up the best possible app for each of the goals you want to achieve.

Discover new apps

Don’t open the App Store just to find out what are the apps showcased in Today view. It’s not the point.

The point is to define the goal and find the best app for that specific goal. If you want to improve your writing, you should explore note-taking apps and compare the ones you have not tried yet with the one you are using.

Think about why you are not using the current app the way you used to. Crashing too often lately? Not updated for a long time? Sync issues? It’s time to look for alternatives.

Review apps you have already purchased

Before you decide to buy the new app (hey, it’s recommended by Apple!) or get a subscription, give yourself a chance to see which apps you had purchased a long time ago, but didn’t even install on your current iPad.

Maybe you will find among the purchased apps the one that has been updated recently with a bunch of cool new features and offers exactly what you need – and you don’t have to pay for it.

To access purchased iOS apps:

  1. Open App Store app and tap your profile picture in the top right.
  2. Tap “Purchased” and then “Not on this iPad” (or “Not on this iPhone”).
Review purchased apps that you have removed from your device, and you may find the one that perfectly fits your current needs
Review purchased apps that you have removed from your device, and you may find the one that perfectly fits your current needs

You will see all the apps you purchased or downloaded for free from the App Store since you set up your Apple ID. You’ll be amazed to see how many of them are!

4. Manage storage space

One of the reasons your iPad or iPhone gets slower and slower over time is that there is less and less space left on it.

You can quickly check out how much space is left by going to Settings app, and then selecting “iPad Storage” (“iPhone Storage”).

Removing or offloading some apps – what we’ve already covered – may not be the solution if you are using these apps on a daily basis.

What can we do, then? Here are some ideas.

Remove downloaded content from the apps

Many apps, such as Apple Music, Netflix, Kindle, or Audible, let users download content for offline use.

The thing is that you don’t need your entire music on the iPhone if you are going to jog for 30 minutes – you just need music for 30 minutes. You don’t need all your Audible audiobooks on your iPad for a 6-hour flight with Air Mode on – you just need one or two audiobooks.

All you have to do is to manage in-app content more often and leave only the songs, movies, or books you are truly going to use in the next few days.

Each app has a different way to remove the downloaded content. For instance, in the Netflix app, you can remove all downloaded movies and tv shows in the Settings, or one by one in the Download tab.

In the Kindle app, you can do it right in the Library view by tapping and holding the book and selecting in the dialog box “Remove from Device” option.

Rearrange the way you store photos and videos

If you are shooting a lot of photos and videos with your iPhone, you will run out of disc space very quickly.

Obviously, you can delete photos from the Camera Roll, but there are more things you should and can do.

Empty Camera Roll’s trash

Deleting a photo from Camera Roll doesn’t automatically free up disc space. The photos are still there – they are stored for the next 30 days in Camera Roll’s trash.

There are two ways to empty Recently Deleted photos and videos.

The first option (see the screenshot below): go to Settings app, tap “General,” then “iPhone Storage.” Then, tap “Empty” that’s next to “Recently Deleted Album.”

An easy way to remove all recently deleted photos and videos from your iPad or iPhone
Remove all recently deleted photos and videos from your iPad or iPhone

The second option: open Photos app, tap “Albums” on the bottom navigation bar, and scroll down to see “Recently Deleted.” Open the album, and tap “Select” in the top right corner. Then tap “Delete All” in the bottom left.

Empty iOS Camera Roll trash using Photos app
Deleting a photo from Camera Roll doesn’t automatically free up disc space. You have to empty the trash

Enable cloud storage

Cloud storage is a great way to both back up photos and videos and better manage storage on the iPad or iPhone.

The easiest way to enable cloud storage is to use the Apple’s built in solution – via iCloud.

  1. Open Settings app, tap “General,” then “iPhone Storage.”
  2. Tap “Enable” next to “iCloud Photos.”
Enabling iCloud is an easy way to free up space on your iPad or iPhone
Enabling iCloud is an easy way to free up space on your iPad or iPhone

5. Make a back up

How long ago did you back up your iPhone or iPad?

It’s generally a good habit to back up the device before you make substantial changes on your device.

There are two ways to back up iOS device. You can read the detailed explanation in Apple Support pages.

Back up iPad or iPhone with iCloud

  1. When your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network, go to Settings app, tap your profile picture, and tap “iCloud.”
  2. Toggle “iCloud Backup” and then tap “Back Up Now.”

Back up iPad or iPhone with iTunes

  1. On your computer, open iTunes app and make sure it’s updated to the latest version.
  2. Connect your iPad or iPhone to the computer and select it when it appears in iTunes.
  3. Click “Back Up Now.”

6. Refresh the battery

If your iPad’s battery runs out too quickly, and you need to recharge the device every single day, even when you haven’t used it, it means the battery needs help.

Follow these tips to calibrate and reset battery to keep it in good condition for as long as possible.

7. Manage app permissions

Over time, when you add more and more apps to your iPad or iPhone, you grant them access to location, camera, microphone, or motion & fitness. Some apps also want to refresh their content in the background.

Giving too many apps access to too many services (especially background app refresh) will drain the battery faster. Plus, there is also a privacy concern.

Take your time and check out if apps you have on your iPad or iPhone really need to be granted too much access.

  • Privacy – go to Settings app, then tap “Privacy” to see apps that access your location, camera, contacts, calendars, photos, Bluetooth, microphone, and many other services.
  • Background App Refresh – go to Settings app, then “General,” then “Background App Refresh” to manage which apps can refresh their content in the background. Turn off as many apps as possible if you want the battery to run for a longer time without the need to recharge.

8. Clean the device

Cleaning a device from unused apps or unwanted content is one part of the device renewal.

The other thing is to clean the device mechanically. There are too many fingerprints on the display, but you don’t care about them as much as in the first days after unboxing, right?

You are probably having your iPad or iPhone put inside a protective case. Take it off and clean the entire device, not only the display.

Make sure to use soft cloth, preferably microfiber. Avoid using sprays, even the ones designed for electronics. If you have to do it because there is too much dirt, make sure not to spray the cleaner directly onto the surface.

Sometimes, the dirt in the Lightning port can stop the iPad or iPhone from recharging. You can use compressed air to remove the dirt to fix the issue.

9. Get a new cover

When you put your refreshed iPad or iPhone on the table next to the cover, you’ll see which thing is in a bad state. It’s not a surprise – it was the cover that was exposed to dirt, damage, and heavy use. Now, it looks ugly and you transfer its condition to the device.

Instead of hunting for rumors about the new iPad Mini or the next generation iPad Pro, think twice. Maybe a new more functional cover is all you need to start using the iPad the way you did a year ago.

A lot to time has passed since you bought the cover for your current model. There are many new designs on the market. Some are much cheaper than original Apple covers, some are not only cheaper, but also offer more advanced features.

Make sure to explore these lists of iPad cases and accessories:

23 best iPad Pro 11 2021 cases that meet versatile needs
– June 20, 2021

10 most reliable iPad trackpad keyboard cases to buy in 2021
– September 7, 2020

What you should know about iPad Pro 2020 case compatibility
– March 22, 2020

15 iPad cases and accessories to beat writer’s block
– December 12, 2019

21 innovative iPad cases and accessories that are best suited for reading
– December 11, 2019

10. Think about ways to reuse

Your iPad may be in a state that any of the tips listed above won’t make it better. Its battery is almost dead, and you have to keep the tablet connected to the power source all the time. It runs on an outdated iOS, and you can’t update it any longer. You can’t have more than a few apps open, because the iPad gets terribly slow or crashed.

It doesn’t mean you have to get rid of it. Just think about ways to reuse it. The only thing you have to think about is to pick up a single purpose – and leave only the one app that serves this purpose.

If you decide to make it an audiobook player, leave Apple Books or Audible. If you choose to use it as a comic reader, leave the Kindle or Kobo app.

Zugu Muse case will turn iPad 9.7 or iPad Pro (11 or 12.9) into a kitchen TV or cookbook, thanks to strong built-in magnets / Image: Amazon

Here are a few ideas of how to repurpose your iPad:

  • Siri station – put it near the bed in a bathroom or in a living room, enable Siri, and use the iPad as a voice-operated station that would inform you about the weather, current news, and anything you want to ask about.
  • Movie player – leave one app that gives you access to movies and TV shows, and remove the rest.
  • Audiobook player – the same with audiobooks. If you move all the photos or videos to the cloud, you can used the saved space to download as many audiobooks as you can.
  • Cookbook – find an approachable place in your kitchen and turn your iPad into a desktop cookbook.
  • Newsstand – think about the iPad as a single-purpose device to feed your mind with the latest news – and nothing more.
  • Book and comic book reader – while the e-reader is a better option to read novels, the iPad is winning when it comes to reading comic books and graphic novels

• • •

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Are you interested in getting more news, tips and lists about the Apple iPad? Keep exploring:

Basic iPad 2021 features, Q&A, and full specs
– September 16, 2021

24 best iPad 10.2 case covers – the ultimate 2021-22 overview
– September 15, 2021

23 best iPad Pro 11 2021 cases that meet versatile needs
– June 20, 2021

Finally, the Kindle app for iPhone and iPad gets the automatic theme switcher
– April 24, 2021

iPad Pro 12.9 2021 – specs, compatibility, features
– April 20, 2021